Clinical research information can be very technical and often contains new concepts for the recipient.
Words and numbers need to be presented in ways that are designed for understanding. Design techniques can enhance the communication process through formatting that presents content clearly and meaningfully.
In this section are tips, as well as examples, of how to apply clear design strategies in the clinical research context.
Helpful Design Strategies
Communicate clinical research information using formatting principles that maximize understanding:
- Important concepts or instructions can be made to stand out from the rest of the information
- Another technique is to separate the important information out using a text box or other way to call-out the information
- For example, the statement “only 50% of kids with asthma get a flu shot” is not important. What is important is the action associated with that statistic: ”If you have a child with asthma, they should get a flu shot.”
- “White space” refers to unmarked space in the design of a document – including how much room is left between sentences, paragraphs, graphics and so on.
- Photos and illustrations can also be considered resting places for the eyes
- Research has shown that the use of white space between lines of paragraphs and its left and right margins can increase comprehension up to 20%.
- Use an Appropriate Font Size
- Use a consistent font that is at least 12 point in Times New Roman as a guide (for example, a 10.5 point Arial may equal a 12 point Times)
- Use Graphics
- Present information using simple tables, charts, and images
Examples of Clear Design Application
- Click the “full screen” icon in the top right corner of the image below to enlarge the example.
- Click the plus signs in the image for more information on what makes this document health literate, and how you can do the same in your own materials.